Institute of Fundraising and Rapidata to study the future of cheques

The institute's Louise Richards says some charities still get up to 90 per cent of their income this way

Louise Richards
Louise Richards

The Institute of Fundraising and the direct debit processing company Rapidata Services will examine the sector’s use of cheques and their future as a payment mechanism.

The two organisations have set up a three-step programme called Cheques: Where Now? which will gather expert views, research sector and consumer use of and attitudes towards cheques, and make recommendations to the charity sector, the payment industry and government.

The first meeting of the programme panel was on 31 January, when experts discussed the use of cheques by charities and alternative payment mechanisms. A joint statement from the IoF and Rapidata said the Payments Council, which sets the strategy for UK payments, will be on the panel and "is very supportive of this project".

Louise Richards, director of policy and campaigns at the IoF, said research showed that some charities got between 75 and 90 per cent of their income from cheques. "We aim to ensure that charities and their needs are recognised in the management of the cheque and in the development of future giving methods," she said.

Scott Gray, managing director of Rapidata Services, said cheque use in the UK fell from 11 million a day in 1990 to 3.5 million a day in 2009. "It’s important that we acknowledge this natural decline and that cheques are unlikely to remain a viable payment mechanism for ever," he said.

"Charities cannot afford to be complacent in their fundraising strategies for the future. As a sector, we need to be prepared for change and have a voice in how this takes shape." 

The IoF recently ran a Save Our Cheques campaign against the Payments Council’s plan to abolish cheques in 2018. This proposal was eventually withdrawn last summer.

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